What (intermediate) SQL/Oracle book should I get

I use PL/SQL developer with an oracle backend for my job about 60% of the time for stats and to manipulate the data – I’m proficient in SQL, some oracle functions. I’m looking to improve my ‘skills’ but don’t want to do deal with an all encompassing book where the first half would be wasted on me. I’m looking for such topics as query optimization, best practices, proper coding styles, etc.

Is anyone in a similar situation and have found an oracle/sql/pl sql developer book to just improve what they do? I just feel like I could be doing things ‘better’

Thanks! :slight_smile:

I do lots of intense SQL development as part of my job. I would just recommend anything from the O’Reilly series. They have several different ones for SQL at the major bookstores although I can’t say which one will be the best for you. Everyone seems to love them and I have a few.

Bwaahahaha. One database book. Owning one database book is like trying to take one hit of Meth.

Eventually you will find that there is something not covered, and you’ll have to by another one. Then someone will find out about your experimenting with DBs and ask you to work on a legacy Oracle 6 DB and you’ll need another book. Next someone will need you to look at a UDB. Then the system will get upgraded to a new version and you’ll need to replace the whole set. You’ll soon have a whole shelf, then a whole bookcase and finally end up like the rest of us who need to use the C-5 Galaxy to transport our Database books when we move.

I second the O’reilly books. They are the Bibles of IT work. The Nutshells are particulary useful and succinct.

I know you specified SQL.

If you are also looking for PL/SQL, then I have an opinion.

Buy anything written by Stephen Feuerstein.
This book should be in everyone’s collection.

I used the Oracle Press Oorcle PL/SQL. The O’Reilly books helped when I was learning the syntax, and the Joe Cleko books were interesting, but in actual use, I just printed out the whole darn Oracle help file and kept it in a 2 Inch binder. That’s all I ever actually needed as a reference.

SQL is pretty simple, have fun. But if you find the data has been denormalized to extent that the data is not consistent, up date your resume and prepare to run.

The Feuerstein books are excellent.
However, the best Oracle book for an Oracle developer is Tom Kyte’s Expert One-On-One Oracle, unfortunately out of print, but if you can find it, grab it. This is an all-encompassing book that you say you don’t want, but it explains fundamental things about the database that any serious programmer should know.

Tom Kyte has some more recent books like Effective Oracle by Design and Expert Oracle Database Architecture: 9i and 10g Programming Techniques and Solutions. The description of “Expert Oracle Database Architecture” says that it includes “Expert One-on-One Oracle” on a disk in .PDF form, but my book didn’t come with it (though I bought it a while ago.) Any of his books are well worth reading.

If you don’t want to buy the books, at the minimum you need to bookmark his site. If you ever wonder “how do I do X in Oracle” your first stop should always be asktom.oracle.com.

Wolf, you are absolutely correct, and I feel confident I’ll be buying more than one book. I’ve used the O’reilly books before for perl, they are good materials for people are already competent in computer programming (the first chapters don’t delve into what an if/else is etc.) The best development books I’ve used are Deitel & Deitel (sp?) I just wish they had a SQL book.

I looked at the PL/SQL developer book by o’reilly a few months ago, but thumbing through it I couldn’t find anything that I saw as useful, it seemed too defined/specific to be of use. Maybe I could give it another shot. What did you like about it?

Personally, I found that simply going through the Oracle SQL reference and running test queries to reverse engineer what did and didn’t take a long time to run was the best method. The one book I bought on Oracle optimization was 99% junk and the small tidbits of actual useful information were very hard to find and ultimately I had found them all out by the time the book had even arrived (three days.)

The principal thing to note is that 99% of books about database optimisation seem to have been written by people who are good scam-artists and who know how to dazzle people with figures so that they don’t notice that nothing is actually being said. That is to say, most of the writers are former consultants.

That book is more of a reference, though it does provide more depth in PL/SQL coding practices than I find elsewhere.
Whenever I need to do something odd like fiddle with bind variables in dynamic SQL or mess around with invoker’s/definer’s rights I reach for that book – it’s much easier to follow than the Oracle documentation on the subject.

It used to have more meat to it, before he split off the Oracle system packages into a separate book: Oracle Built-in Packages.

I have both of them and use them more frequently than any other of my books.